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Mother thankful for blood donor, after terrifying moment after daughter’s birth

<i></i><br/>Abby Foppe
Lawrence, Nakia

Abby Foppe

By David Amelotti

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    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (KMOV) — The need for blood donations continues to rise in St. Louis, and around the country this winter. Area hospitals, like Mercy St. Louis, are seeing an increased demand for blood, especially in maternity services.

Mercy St. Louis is the only hospital in the state that has its own Blood Donor Services program. We host mobile blood drives throughout the community (including at all our hospitals in the region) but also schedule donations in the blood donor room at Mercy St. Louis.

The Mercy St. Louis Labor & Birth group is teaming up with Blood Donor Services to host a drive (Dec. 26-30) to raise awareness about the need for blood in maternity services.

Someone who knows the benefit of this program is Mercy nurse, Abby Foppe, who was in dire need of a blood donation minutes after she gave birth to her daughter, Francesca.

“I had a scheduled c-section, went great,” Foppe shared. “[My daughter] did wonderfully. I got back to recovering and things going well. I bled a bit extra. My nurse was a good friend trying to keep me calm saying it was no big deal but I could tell it was.”

Foppe started having a postpartum hemorrhage during her immediate recovery. It took eight hours for Foppe to stabilize and then she hemorrhaged again.

In less than a day, she needed two units of blood – red flags Foppe recognized because she is a nurse on the Labor and Delivery floor at Mercy St. Louis.

“Something you don’t think about as a nurse, I’m just going to get that the patient needs it but as a patient, I’m like hopefully they have what I need,” Foppe said.

Fortunately for Foppe, Mercy St. Louis has its own blood donor program.

“You can’t always preempt you need this,” Cheryl Barkhurst with Mercy St. Louis said. “The product has to be on the shelf ready for the next person. It is truly the ultimate pay it forward. It can’t be done any other way.”

Barkhurst runs Mercy’s Donor Recruitment program. She’s been part of the program since day one, 20 years ago. She said flu season is slowing donations. Mainly on high school campuses, where the hospital is seeing half the registrants.

She said the hospital is one trauma situation away from being in a crisis, which is why she’s happy to see people, like Mike Rosa stop by, and roll their sleeve to give.

“It’s vital,” Rosa shared. “The nurse was just saying they gave birth and their daughter was 26 weeks old and they were in this chair yesterday giving blood so their child can live.”

Mercy St. Louis said it has just over 500 units of blood on hand. But a trauma case can wipe out a fifth of that in an instant, making donations critical.

“If you can give your time, a little blood, and energy and it can save someone’s life,” Foppe said. “It really can save someone. It goes directly to a person, like me.”

Anyone interested in giving blood can do so this week for the inaugural Mercy St. Louis Labor and Birth Group blood drive. It runs until Friday.

This is for blood in maternity services.

The goal is for 100 people to donate and as of Tuesday afternoon, more than 30 people had already donated blood. The blood collected will help stock five area Mercy locations.

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